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Christian Family Loves Their Dead Gay Son

On the night of Nov. 20, 2001, a conversation held over Instant Messenger changed our lives forever.

Our 12-year-old son messaged me in my office from the computer in his bedroom.

Ryan says: can i tell u something

Mom says: Yes I am listening

Ryan says: well i don't know how to say this really but, well......, i can't keep lying to you about myself. I have been hiding this for too long and i sorta have to tell u now. By now u probably have an idea of what i am about to say.

Ryan says: I am gay

Ryan says: i can't believe i just told you

Mom says: Are you joking?

Ryan says: no

Ryan says: i thought you would understand because of uncle don

Mom says: of course I would

Mom says: but what makes you think you are?

Ryan says: i know i am

Ryan says: i don't like hannah

Ryan says: it's just a cover-up

Mom says: but that doesn't make you gay...

Ryan says: i know

Ryan says: but u don't understand

Ryan says: i am gay

Mom says: tell me more

Ryan says: it's just the way i am and it's something i know

Ryan says: u r not a lesbian and u know that. it is the same thing

Mom says: what do you mean?

Ryan says: i am just gay

Ryan says: i am that

Mom says: I love you no matter what

Ryan says: i am white not black

Ryan says: i know

Ryan says: i am a boy not a girl

Ryan says: i am attracted to boys not girls

Ryan says: u know that about yourself and i know this

Mom says: what about what God thinks about acting on these desires?

Ryan says: i know

Mom says: thank you for telling me

Ryan says: and i am very confused about that right now

Mom says: I love you more for being honest

Ryan says: i know

Ryan says: thanx

(more at link)

by Heathersreply 8907/09/2013

The article is long, but here is the take-a-way:

--------

Now, when I think back on the fear that governed all my reactions during those first six years after Ryan told us he was gay, I cringe as I realize how foolish I was. I was afraid of all the wrong things. And I grieve, not only for my oldest son, whom I will miss every day for the rest of my life, but for the mistakes I made. I grieve for what could have been, had we been walking by faith instead of by fear.

Now, whenever Rob and I join our gay friends for an evening, I think about how much I would love to be visiting with Ryan and his partner over dinner. But instead, we visit Ryan's gravestone. We celebrate anniversaries: the would-have-been birthdays and the unforgettable day of his death. We wear orange, his color. We hoard memories: pictures, clothing he wore, handwritten notes, lists of things he loved, tokens of his passions, recollections of the funny songs he invented, his Curious George and baseball blankey, anything, really, that reminds us of our beautiful boy, for that is all we have left, and there will be no new memories.

We rejoice in our adult children, and in our growing family as they marry, but we ache for the one of our "gang of four" who is missing. We mark life by the days B.C. (before coma) and A.D. (after death), because we are different people now; our life was irrevocably changed in a million ways by his death. We treasure friendships with others who "get it" because they, too, have lost a child.

We weep. We seek Heaven for grace and mercy and redemption as we try not to get better but to be better. And we pray that God can somehow use our story to help other parents learn to truly love their children. Just because they breathe.

by Heathersreply 107/02/2013

Crying

by Heathersreply 207/02/2013

Chaos is what killed the dinosaurs.

by Heathersreply 307/02/2013

One more reason why religion is dangerous - it places ridiculous and impossible expectations on people and makes them feel like shit when they "fail".

And this also shows what a joke prayer is.

by Heathersreply 407/02/2013

People are fucking lucky enough to HAVE kids let alone sweet ones like this young man and they have the fucking nerve to ask for more!!! Just one of the many things that ticks me off about religious people and people that want to control their kids.

by Heathersreply 507/02/2013

I really hate religion. It has ruined so many lives.

by Heathersreply 607/02/2013

In my Xtian house the conversation would have gone like this:

Me: Mom, Dad, I'm gay.

Them: Get out, you're dead to us.

Mom's still alive, haven't spoken to her in about 20 years, my dad died about ten years ago, I didn't find out until about four months after he died when I ran into a cousin while I was out shopping.

by Heathersreply 707/02/2013

R7 That's a damn shame. Your story is one more example of how religion does nothing but hurt people at the end of the day.

by Heathersreply 907/02/2013

OMG, I just watched the tribute video in the story and it's DISGUSTING how they had the nerve to put a fucking bible verse on his gravestone! That fucking evil bible was essentially what drove this guy to his death, and they put a bible verse on his gravestone??? Talk about twisted.

by Heathersreply 1007/02/2013

They'd rather bury their child than admit their religion is fuct god is sooooooo great y'all !!!!!

by Heathersreply 1107/03/2013

Religions do exacerbate anti-gay bigotry but it still would be here if no religions existed. It would still be here because the central idea of anti-gay oppression is be heterosexual or else. Gay people rather fight a book than confront heterosexuals on their heterosexual-only beliefs. And let's face it in most areas there is no gay community safety net. Gay people would have to move to a major city to get that. Gay people don't want to link heterosexuals with anti-gay bigotry. You can't explain gay people's lives adequately if you can't explain heterosexuals roles in it.

Killing yourself or being careless about your health only is a victory for the "people can only be heterosexual" and "heterosexuals are better" side. Survival is winning. Thriving is winning.

by Heathersreply 1207/03/2013

R8? You SOW what you reap.

by Heathersreply 1307/03/2013

[quote] it still would be here if no religions existed. It would still be here because the central idea of anti-gay oppression is be heterosexual or else

This is true, but religion gives them a pretty convenient bargaining chip. Watching the equal marriage debates in England, it struck me as odd that religion became this huge priority, particularly Christianity, when the fact is that almost nobody goes to Church in the UK anymore. They're religious when they need to get married or buried.

I have no sympathy for this couple. They're the typical fundie cunts who can't fathom the idea of empathy - things only matter when it happens to them. At least Mary Griffith went out of her way to really try advocate some change. These people are likely still huge fundies.

by Heathersreply 1407/03/2013

Heather says real life sucks you dry. You want to fuck with the eagles, you have to learn how to fly.

by Heathersreply 1507/03/2013

R7, YOUR post made me cry more than the article. Religion does sometimes keep people from thinking clearly. People ought to realize that their children are ultimately MORE important than all the tenets of their religion.

Hugs.

by Heathersreply 1607/03/2013

damn

by Heathersreply 1707/03/2013

She does understand the horrible cosmic joke that was played on her and her family: she finally got what she prayed for.

From the story:

"Ryan died on July 16, 2009. And we lost the ability to love our gay son, because we no longer had a gay son. What we had wished for, prayed for, hoped for -- that we would not have a gay son -- came true. But not at all in the way we had envisioned."

by Heathersreply 1807/03/2013

They presented an unedited version of this article at the last Exodus International Conference.

After all they've been through, they presented this paper at a conference of ex-gays, the very people and very organization which would have supported their earlier, bigoted efforts that led to the death of their son? Do they still not get it? Your religious ideas about God being against gays, Jesus not loving gay men, the ones helped your son die and you give a presentation to the haters and self-loathers?

by Heathersreply 1907/03/2013

It was Exodus's last conference, R19. They were closing down.

by Heathersreply 2007/03/2013

I read that on HuffPo earlier, and just felt so incredibly depressed afterward. He was so innocent in that messaging exchange at the beginning.

by Heathersreply 2107/03/2013

But why would they even want to be around the Exodus folk, even if they were shutting down. They peddled the lies that the parents bought that killed their son.

by Heathersreply 2207/03/2013

[quote]But why would they even want to be around the Exodus folk,

Because they're stupid people. All Fundies are stupid.

by Heathersreply 2307/03/2013

They are still committed to the Evangelical Church, R22, and want to get the word out to people about how their beliefs led to their son's death. Exodus shut down because they realized how they were harming people, not helping them.

by Heathersreply 2407/03/2013

I'm calling bullshit on that IM. Those aren't the words of a 12-year-old. Murderous momma concocted that shit.

by Heathersreply 2507/03/2013

God God God God God God God Jesus God.

That's pretty much all I saw when I read her article.

by Heathersreply 2607/03/2013

Be careful what you ask for ...

by Heathersreply 2707/03/2013

If they had any balls they would have put something on the tombstone about their son being gay and that they would always be sorry for their bigoted fundamentalist beliefs.

by Heathersreply 2807/03/2013

So how did he die? Suicide?

by Heathersreply 2907/03/2013

Go get fucked up your godly cunt, Linda.

by Heathersreply 3007/03/2013

Heroin overdose, R29. He'd been clean for a good while and then relapsed. The friends he was with when he OD'ed didn't take him to the hospital for quite a while and by the time they did take him, he was in a coma for 17 days before he died.

by Heathersreply 3107/03/2013

The picture of him, intubated on his death bed, receiving mommy's Judas kiss, is disturbing.

by Heathersreply 3207/03/2013

Video of it for R32.

by Heathersreply 3307/05/2013

Very sad story, but I hate when she says something along the lines of: He couldn't be gay. He was ALL BOY.

As if acting like a normal, sports-loving, buddy-having teenager precludes a boy from being gay. This is what kills teenage boy - the belief that being gay men means having to be only the worst stereotype alive.

by Heathersreply 3407/05/2013

I think with that line, R34, she's still laying out her (and her family's) misconceptions of what being gay is. Along the lines of her "we love you but..." and how she later realizes how this was so terrible, misguided, and the absolute wrong way to think and act.

by Heathersreply 3507/05/2013

[quote]I hate when she says something along the lines of: He couldn't be gay. He was ALL BOY.

In fairness to her, that is what she thought then, not what she thinks now.

I thought it odd that she said she adored her gay brother, but then did everything she could to stop her son from being gay. No wonder the kid was confused. And where was the gay uncle to help him through all this?

by Heathersreply 3607/05/2013

The gay uncle was probably smart enough to stay away from his crazy-ass sister for his own good.

So, he did come out of his coma, obviously. And yet he still died? Weird.

by Heathersreply 3707/05/2013

The gay uncle is also evangelical/fundamentalist.

Ryan came out of his coma only briefly and from the video, not fully. Or, pretty brain-damaged. He doesn't look all there to me.

Also, before the coma, he was deaf because of drug use.

by Heathersreply 3807/05/2013

She keeps the worst part of the IM intact, not sparing herself:

"Mom says: what about what God thinks about acting on these desires?

"Ryan says: i know"

I wonder if she read that viral Facebook letter from the Dad who anticipated his son coming out to him. I wonder if she wishes she could have used those words instead of what she typed (even though it was apparently impossible for her to have changed without the tragedy as a catalyst):

"Mom should have said: I knew you were gay since you were five. I've loved you since you were born."

by Heathersreply 3907/05/2013

Sad

by Heathersreply 4007/06/2013

Too little, too late.

Their hate and attachment to a lie killed their son.

by Heathersreply 4107/06/2013

[quote]Heroin overdose, [R29]. He'd been clean for a good while and then relapsed. The friends he was with when he OD'ed didn't take him to the hospital for quite a while and by the time they did take him, he was in a coma for 17 days before he died.

Then what does this have to do with being gay? Straight druggies overdose all the time and die.

by Heathersreply 4207/06/2013

R12, them's fighting words - and damn good ones.

Fight the REAL enemy.

by Heathersreply 4307/06/2013

God I hate his parents, I don't care that they finally came around. I wish they would eat their own shit and choke on it.

by Heathersreply 4407/06/2013

"Then what does this have to do with being gay? Straight druggies overdose all the time and die."

The parents conception is that they pushed a good, Jesus-loving kid into the drug scene by "lovingly" harassing him about his sexual orientation for six or more years. This included religious-based reparative therapy. He went along with it and believed he could pray it all away. But after years of no results, he became very angry and rebelled with drugs.

by Heathersreply 4507/06/2013

Beautifully stated, r44. Could not agree more. Hateful parents and revoltingly fake photo-op.

I hope he haunts them and makes them miserable for the rest of their lives.

by Heathersreply 4607/06/2013

Religion doesn't cause homophobia, it's simply an excuse for bigots to justify their hate.

by Heathersreply 4707/06/2013

It's pretty clear from that article that Linda Robertson still doesn't get it.

At least she still has her megachurch.

by Heathersreply 4807/06/2013

As horrible as R7's parents' treatment of him was, it's better than the sinister psychological torture Ryan Robertson's parents put him through.

Needing acceptance and love is part of the human condition. R7's parents made it clear that he wouldn't find that with them.

Ryan's parents apparently gave him support for living at severe odds with himself - setting the stage for tragic consequences when the unsustainable cognitive dissonance inevitably collapsed.

by Heathersreply 4907/06/2013

[quote]Then what does this have to do with being gay? Straight druggies overdose all the time and die.

He was rejected by his family and community for being gay. The supernatural being he worshipped as his creator did not approve of him because he was gay. This was extremely painful to him and he coped by using drugs.

Do you not understand drug use and addiction? That was a rhetorical question, as your use of the term "druggie" exposes your level of expertise on the subject.

by Heathersreply 5007/06/2013

That video at R33 makes me really uncomfortable. Incest much?

by Heathersreply 5107/06/2013

R13, I believe it's "You reap what you sow."

by Heathersreply 5207/06/2013

I love how these Xtian freaks create a "God", then purport to read the imaginary deity's mind! It truly is the most bizarre thing I've ever heard! Sickies all of them! Religion IS child Abuse!

by Heathersreply 5307/06/2013

If you go to Youtube, she's monitoring the comments. You can leave a comment she will see. As for the clip being uncomfortable, it very much is. I don't know about incest, but certainly enmeshment and wanting to contain his attention and love and bring it to herself.

[quote]I'm calling bullshit on that IM. Those aren't the words of a 12-year-old. Murderous momma concocted that shit.

I work with kids who say things like this who are younger.

by Heathersreply 5407/06/2013

Blog post about what Linda really believes about gay relationships:

by Heathersreply 5507/08/2013

That woman's obsessive talk of God and the bible is making ME mentally ill. Fucking shut up already!!!

by Heathersreply 5607/08/2013

LOL@R56! I can completely understand that.

I know her in person and really love her and I have a hard time reconciling her as a person with such outlandish beliefs.

While her story is tragic and heartbreaking, it's interesting to me to read a thread about her and to hear people's reactions who don't know her. I think it's pretty much what I'd say too.

by Heathersreply 5707/08/2013

F her.

by Heathersreply 5807/08/2013

She's teaching Christians to be more tolerant and loving of gays. I wish there were more Christiams like her. Those of you attacking her just for being Christian are no better than the bigots you condemn. "Live and let live" does apply to both sides of the debate. It is sad that it required a tragedy of this magnitude for her to change her attitude, but those of you expecting her to renounce her faith aren't being realistic.

by Heathersreply 5907/08/2013

R55, interesting, it's not a sin to be just be gay, but it is if you aren't celibate. I remember DONNY OSMOND saying the exact same thing. His albums should be burned and concerts boycotted, although only a pathetic loser would be listening to the Osmonds in 2013 (or ever) anyway

by Heathersreply 6007/08/2013

Don't forget the context. This is part of the same enlightenment that happened with Exodus International, and will continue to happen within the Evangelical Christians. It's part of the sea change that comes from being out to the world - people are confronted with the people they know and love being gay, for better or worse.

Christianity does change over time, fortunately for those of us living in the West. It doesn't happen without constant pressure and lots of heartbreak. Consider that most Christians now believe slavery is wrong, even though that's much more explicitly condoned in the Bible than homosexuality. Millions are free, and millions more less racist because a religion can change.

by Heathersreply 6107/08/2013

Exactly r59, why should she renounce her religion just because it killed her son? No biggie, she has other kids, spares if you will.

by Heathersreply 6207/08/2013

"because he breathes" bitch is a murderer, who is making the life she took all about her, and her fucking murdering belief in a MYTH. she and her bloodthirsty cult members all belong in jail.

by Heathersreply 6307/08/2013

That's exactly it r63, can you believe the morons defending her? They deserved her as a mother.

by Heathersreply 6407/08/2013

You really love her, r57?

Are you gay?

A family member of hers?

What?

by Heathersreply 6507/08/2013

What's a dead kid or two? The important thing is God has tasked me to spread the word of his love of gay people, as long as they remain celibate. While me and Rob are free to fuck our brains out! And we gotta keep fucking too at the rate we're killing off our kids. But you homos keep it in your pants, and don't touch it either, that's a sin too.

by Heathersreply 6607/08/2013

My coming out -

Me: "Mum, Dad - I'm gay"

Dad: Looks up, raises eyebrow at mother, then goes back to his book.

Mum: "That's nice, dear. Are we still going for lunch on Friday?"

Me: "Um, yep - okay"

by Heathersreply 6707/08/2013

I haven't spoken to my father in over 35 years. He's in his late 80s now. He disowned me too.

by Heathersreply 6807/08/2013

Except, R61, Exodus is just going to come back with a new name, peddling the same old crap as before. The "apology" was not an apology.

If Exodus was closing its doors, saying, "We have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God" and then actually stopped peddling crap, that would have been fine.

So this lady is just buying into their crap. The whole "you can be gay but you must be celibate" is the same load of crap that all the pedo priests and the newest lamest Pope are peddling.

She and her husband can go fuck themselves to death for all I care. It's still more about her than about her son. Her faith is a one way mirror that always shines back on her. "Oh, look, what a good Christian mother I am!!"

by Heathersreply 6907/08/2013

Where exactly did she say gays can ONLY be celibate? The blog post I read said that she supported gays who choose to be celibate, and also gays who choose not to be. A lot of your are just being anti-Christian bigots.

by Heathersreply 7007/08/2013

Christianity did not kill this man. He was a heroin abuser and it is presumptuous to assume his addiction would have been improved with social acceptance. People use drugs for a variety of reasons that have little to do with religious persecution. Again, I think we should focus on her efforts to spread tolerance to a typically intolerant group. I think she is truly remorseful about her prior judgements of her child and if you read her blog she seems to have reconciled being faithful to her religion and tolerant to her gay friends. Because of her specific experiences, I believe her message will sink in to many.

by Heathersreply 7107/08/2013

A LOT of people have severely fucked up childhoods and teenage years living with a dysfunctional family. Most of us do not use heroin as a way to "ease the pain". If this guy had not been a heroin addict he'd still be alive, damaged sure, like most of us, but alive. If he had been into alcohol even he would most likely still be alive.

I feel for him, for her, for her family. I can't compare it to my own situation since I was thoroughly rejected by mine, thrown out at 18 on my birthday & given $40 to find new accomodations - not for being gay as I'm a straight female, but because my mother and stepfather were dysfunctional and not very nice or loving at all. My thought is, at least she loved him.

I have compassion though as everyone's pain is fucked up and still hurting them.

by Heathersreply 7207/08/2013

r72 = hetero privileged in its full odious glory

by Heathersreply 7307/08/2013

I don't believe R72's story.

by Heathersreply 7407/08/2013

r74 why not? It happened, IDC if you don't believe it. Do you think parents didn't throw kids out in the 70's? They certainly did and parents then were pretty horrible. Things have changed a lot, for the better for the most part, I might add.

by Heathersreply 7507/08/2013

r73 "hetero-privileged"? I think not. I would have done ANYTHING to have parents that loved me. I did not have that, but it's ok, I'm better off now.

by Heathersreply 7607/08/2013

I'd throw you out like the garbage too, it's what you deserved. You've got some nerve trolling a gay forum defending monsters like this woman.

by Heathersreply 7707/08/2013

r77 where did say I defended her? Facts please.

I only said I have compassion for everyone involved in this, and that heroin was what killed him. His parents were fucked up, and I added that most/many people have fucked up parents. Heroin is the killer.

PS, I'd throw you out too r77

by Heathersreply 7807/08/2013

Sorry [R59], but this "Those of you attacking her just for being Christian are no better than the bigots you condemn"

is a steaming pile of christstain compost. {Plus, "bigot" does not mean what you seem to imagine it means.}

You christstains invented Gay Hate™. Sorry if that inconvenient little fact embarrasses your christstain ass. Thus, the default setting for "Christian" is *ASSHOLE* until the christstain proves otherwise. Jury's still out on the modern-day Medea being discussed here. I'm sure she "means well," though. Maybe we can ask her gay son what he thinks.... oh, wait....

by Heathersreply 7907/08/2013

But chances are also good that if these looney tunes parents hadn't fed him that anti-gay b.s. then he might not have developed the heroin problem.

Sure, he could have become an addict either way and, yes, the specific cause of death was heroin, but all the unanswered questions will continue to haunt the parents.

But trusting the Exodus people and even thinking they are the appropriate group to trust your story to is yet another bad decision.

by Heathersreply 8007/08/2013

So if Black people thought like you, Bonnie Bitch, then they would have a valid excuse to hate all White people in existence because Whites started instittionalized racism and persecution of the Black race. Nevermind there were Whites who stood along with Blacks in the civil rights movement. Nevermind that the majoriry of Whites are tolerant of other races. Are you tolerant to Black people who hate all Whites because "whites started it"? Does one form of bogotry and hate truly excuse another?? I would expect you to have the ability to discern a Christian who is your enemy from a Christian who is not.

by Heathersreply 8107/08/2013

for [R81] "So if Black people thought like you, Bonnie Bitch,...."

Oh, honey - stick a fork in your racist crap (and your dead zombie savior on a stick), 'cause it's done. There is an obvious diff between judging remorselessly and unthinkingly beforehand and reacting deservedly with zero chance of redemption and appropriately to out-n-out bigotry. Do I really need to explain which one Mother Medea with the dead gay son did? {FREE CLUE: it was the first one}

Cold Notes version: Reacting to bigotry ≠ bigotry.

by Heathersreply 8207/08/2013

[quote] Those aren't the words of a 12-year-old.

You're really stupid

by Heathersreply 8307/08/2013

[quote]Very sad story, but I hate when she says something along the lines of: He couldn't be gay. He was ALL BOY. As if acting like a normal, sports-loving, buddy-having teenager precludes a boy from being gay. This is what kills teenage boys - the belief that being gay men means having to be only the worst stereotype alive.

Clearly the mother was a datalounge regular and drank the propaganda that flows here (gay = effeminite).

by Heathersreply 8407/08/2013

[quote]A LOT of people have severely fucked up childhoods and teenage years living with a dysfunctional family. Most of us do not use heroin as a way to "ease the pain". If this guy had not been a heroin addict he'd still be alive, damaged sure, like most of us, but alive.

And you're under the impression that everyone experiences "damage" with equal levels of severity? That some people aren't more psychologically fragile, depressive, etc? That if you could withstand event X, then everyone else should too?

If so, why didn't you compete in the last Olympics and win the Gold medal in the track & field 100 meters? I mean everyone's bodies and minds are the same, right?

by Heathersreply 8507/08/2013

I'd like to see someone do a statistical study of drug addiction and see if being raised by fundamentalist christians is a risk factor. I bet it is.

It's certainly a risk factor for suicide among gay youths.

by Heathersreply 8607/08/2013

"drank the propaganda that flows here (gay = effeminite)"

The only drinker around here is YOU.

by Heathersreply 8707/09/2013

Forget the guilt they feel now.

Focus on how they acted when it counted.

I'm sick of people who didn't get it right the first time, when one is all any rational person would need.

by Heathersreply 8807/09/2013

No r85 I don't think people experience damage with the same levels of severity.

But how many people here or anywhere went through nine levels of hell and did not use heroin?

There are tons of people on this website that were unloved and thrown out. This guy's parents put him through hell "for love" but he still chose to do heroin & most of the people here did not.

That is just where I think the guy fucked up, the heroin thing. That was his choice, doing heroin. I think it's fine that the fucked up parents are blaming themselves in light of everything though.

by Heathersreply 8907/09/2013
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